The Chaibasa police Friday recovered bodies of three members of a family, including a woman, who were murdered more than a fortnight ago allegedly by villagers. The police said that the incident appeared to be a case of murder on allegations of practicing witchcraft. The incident was reported at Chhota Nagra police station in Chaibasa. A case has been registered in this regard and a hunt is on for seven people named accused, all of whom are absconding.
According to the police, they got tip-off about the murders from their sources on January 14. Around 4.30 p.m. Friday, a joint team of the local police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) reached the village, Titlighat, and exhumed the bodies buried alongside a nullah.
The bodies have been identified as that of Turam Bodra (55), his wife Gurbari Bodra (50) and their son Antu Bodra (28) – all residents of Titlighat. They used to work as labourers in nearby mines. All the seven persons named in the incident are residents of Nichle Tola, a locality within the same village.
Inspector (Chhota Nagra), Hari Kishan Oraon, said: “When we initially went in search, the villagers did not tell anything. Finally, we went there with the CRPF team and traced the bodies.” The police said that the bodies of Turam and Gurbari were buried at one place, while that of Antu was found buried at some distance along the nullah. They have been sent for post-mortem.
Antu’s wife, Roybari Bodra, has told the police that one 70-year-old Atuva Siddhu had died due to some illness back in November 2015. Gradually, their family and, particularly, her mother-in-law, Gurbari, began to be targeted by villagers, who accused her of practicing witch-craft that led to the death of the 70-year-old.
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“The complainant has said that the seven accused persons came to their home on December 30, 2015, armed with axes and other local weapons and attacked Gurbari. Turam and Antu were attacked when they tried to intervene. The woman, somehow, managed to escape. When the three died of injuries suffered in the attack, they were buried. She was threatened into silence,” said Sub-Divisional Police Officer (Kiriburu), Mohammad Arsi.
The officer said that the area was affected by Naxal presence and villagers do not dare to inform the police. “Even after we got the tip-off and sought to inquire from the survivor, she kept telling us that her husband had gone to some market on Odisha border. Later, she told us about the incident. A raid was carried out last evening itself, but the accused have fled the village. Efforts are on to catch them,” said Arsi.